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A closer lens: Cancer survivors' supportive intervention preferences and interventions received

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Published online on


Objective Cancer survivor preferences for formal interventions designed to provide psychological support remain relatively unknown. To address this gap, we evaluated cancer survivors' preferences for psychological intervention, whom they preferred to recommend such intervention, and how their preferences compared with what they currently received. Methods US cancer survivors (n = 345) who were at least 2 months post‐treatment for diverse forms of cancer were recruited online to complete a survey study. Results Based on Wilcoxon signed‐rank tests to distinguish among ranked preferences, cancer survivors rated individual professional counseling as their most‐preferred form of psychological intervention (among 6 choices), p < .001, followed by professionally led cancer support groups and individual peer counseling. Anti‐depressant or other psychiatric medication represented their least‐preferred intervention, ps < .001, but was the one they were most likely to currently receive. Preference for individual professional counseling over psychiatric medication was evident even among the subgroups of cancer survivors screening positively for probable anxiety disorder (n = 188) or major depression (n = 137), ps < .001. Cancer survivors most preferred to learn about psychological interventions from their medical oncologist, p < .001, followed by primary care physician, cancer nurse, or another cancer survivor; they least preferred to learn from a social worker or on their own, ps < .001. Conclusions Cancer survivors reported significant unmet need for psychological intervention, preference for non‐pharmacological forms of such support, and a gap between their preferred forms of support and what they currently receive.